The Super Eagles were ousted from the Confederations Cup by Spain but the Nigerian side was far from being disgraced.
Struggling gamely almost in a hopeless situation, they still put in their best and they walked off the Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza and the Confederations Cup with their heads above their shoulders.
Even a win by them may not have changed their fortunes as their advancement in the competition was also hinged on the other group match in Recife between Uruguay and Tahiti.
That fate-deciding game expectedly ended in the massacre of Tahiti as Uruguay needed the basketful of goals to neutralise any effort Nigeria could be making in Fortaleza.
They did it with an emphatic 8-0 win.
May be the result could have been otherwise if a couple of goal-scoring chances created were converted.
The South Americans were so sure of the easy job that they changed their entire starting line-up from their win over Nigeria.
Diego Perez took over the captaincy duties from Diego Lugano, who was suspended from the match.
The Uruguayans were also sure Nigeria faced a herculean task to beat the reigning World Cup holders and European champions.
The Super Eagles were richly applauded, even in defeat.
Losing 0-3 to a reigning World champion was not a disgraceful result.
The scoreline definitely did not reflect the efforts the ‘work-in-progress’ Eagles put into the game.
Playing in their away strip of an all-white outfit even though were technically the home team was a result of Spain’s away colour being blue, which will not contrast well for quality telecast.
The Spaniards, noting that the Super Eagles would not be easy nuts to crack, returned all the outfield line-up in their opening match against Uruguay.
They had rested some key players in the comparatively easy-take game with Tahiti and could not consider still resting them in anticipation of a tasking semi-final duel with Italy.
The Super Eagles’ brilliance did not however take any shine off the mastery of the Spaniards.
They are the apostles of free flowing, sexy football.
Their two goals were classical.
The first was a third minute strike by Jordi Alba.
It was from a typical Spanish build up as a combination of Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas laid the ball into the path of overlapping Alba in the left back.
He took on four Nigerians before driving a low ball past Enyeama.
Then came the 62nd minute, Fernando Torres had hardly entered the pitch to replace Roberto Soldado when he dived full length to nod home the ball from Pedro’s cross.
It was just 90 seconds after he entered the pitch.
It may go down as the fastest goal by a substitute in the Confederations Cup history, bringing to memory what Ebbe Sand did for Nigeria at the 1998 World Cup when he set a goal record by a substitute just under a minute of his coming in as a substitute.
Jordi Alba in a break-away move after a counter-attack found the net barely two minutes from regulation time.
It was from a Nigeria corner kick, which was cleared as all the Eagles had gone upfront desperately in search of a goal. The ball was cleared out and a long lob found Alba who ran from his own half and dribbled past Enyeama for another classic goal.
Spain will now face Italy in the semi finals to set up a repeat of the Euro 1012 final match.
Brazil will face Uruguay.